IAAF Chief Sebastian Coe Insists There Was no Cover-up

Updated: 14 January 2016 11:13 IST

Claims have emerged that the International Association of Athletics Federations was aware of illegal and dangerous levels of doping in Russian athletics as far back as 2009.

IAAF Chief Sebastian Coe Insists There Was no Cover-up
IAAF president Sebastian Coe said the doping allegations against Russia are deeply shocking and alarming. © AFP

Embattled IAAF president Sebastian Coe has insisted that his organisation did not cover up positive drugs tests by Russian athletes, in television interviews aired on Wednesday. (Read More in Athletics)

Claims have emerged that the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) was aware of illegal and dangerous levels of doping in Russian athletics as far back as 2009.

A second report by a World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) independent commission to be published on Thursday will shine further light on doping in Russian athletics, but Coe says that the IAAF has nothing to hide.

"I don't think it was a huge surprise that we were concerned about Russia," he told Sky News. "The escalating number of positive tests that the IAAF Council commented on during my time was clearly a concern.

"But the issue is simple: were all abnormal readings followed up? The answer is yes. Were sanctions imposed and made public? Yes. Was there a cover-up? No."

The first WADA independent commission report, published in November last year, led to the IAAF banning Russian athletes from taking part in international competitions.

Its second report is expected to also focus on corruption at the highest levels of the IAAF.

Lamine Diack, who Coe succeeded as IAAF president last August, is under investigation by French prosecutors over allegations that he took bribes to hush up positive tests by Russian athletes.

Last week three senior IAAF officials, including Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack, were banned by the IAAF's ethics commission for blackmailing athletes and covering up positive drugs tests.

In an interview with CNN, Coe was asked if he was confident that the second report would contain no direct allegations against him.

"Look, the (IAAF) ethics board has already made its enquiries," he replied.

"The WADA report we will wait for tomorrow (Thursday), the French police... I have been, as the president of the IAAF, in total cooperation with all these enquiries. So that is where we are."

Asked if he had considered standing aside as president, he replied: "No, because the day-to-day duties of a president is to make sure that the sport is in safe keeping."

He added: "Don't run away with the idea that I don't know that these are dark days. Of course they're dark days.

"The crisis, actually, was probably two or three years ago when what we're now having to deal with was taking place. Our responsibility now is to make those changes and to take the sport into safe territory."

But when asked how many more revelations were likely to come to light in the second WADA report, he replied: "I don't know."

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